Like most parents, you’ve probably wondered if the cost of sending your kid to a private school really worth it. Maybe you’ve even done a little research, had conversations with relatives whose kids study in those schools, talked to teachers, read newspapers for more information. Or maybe not!
Private School: Worth The Cost?
Every parent wants their child to receive the best education available. Most prefer a private school to a public school for their for obvious reasons. This blind fascination for private schools has led to a boom in the number of such schools in cities and even some villages across India. Places that do not have private schooling facilities, parents send their kids to boarding schools with hefty fees. The inevitable question then arises – Are they worth the money?
Too often, parents jump the gun and pay for tuition, assuming that all private schools are good. It is very easy to compare private schools to the public ones and just think the prices are justified. Here’s a reality check of the different aspects of a private school experience.
- Quality Teachers – Teachers in private schools are working there by choice, as opposed to getting placed in remote areas by public school systems. However, almost all private schools advertise their faculty as ‘highly qualified’. But even certain ‘qualified’ teachers don’t necessarily have a degree in education. It is particularly hard to confirm because very few schools disclose information about teachers’ credentials in their brochures or on their website.
- Class Size – The class size is going to be smaller — definitely smaller than public schools. A higher teacher-student ratio ensures that your child is attended to properly. Maintaining a greater number of teachers will obviously increase the fees. However, most schools state this in very vague terms and don’t necessarily like to give that reason for the high fees.
- Well-Maintained Laboratories – Every prospectus is laden with pictures of laboratories replete with instruments. This equipment costs dearly to buy anew. So, the lab fees charged by schools provide students an imperative element of his/her education i.e. practical demonstrations and training.
- Library – An active learning atmosphere is extremely dependent on a good library of essential books. It also helps teachers to stay up-to-date and impart relevant knowledge to students. The addition of new books to the existing collection and maintenance of the library costs significantly, which reflects in the fees.
- Smart/Digital Classroom – Modern schools prop up smart classrooms as a symbol of excellence in their advertisements or admissions brochures. Use of technology has been proven to have a positive impact on the academic understanding of students. However, transparency about the expenses and the actual availability of such facilities for students help explain the costs better.
- Provision of Extra-curricular facilities – Private schools provide many facilities for the ‘overall development’ of their students. Things like sports grounds, indoor facilities, music theaters, etc. need regular maintenance if the school puts it to good use. Many schools pay namesake attention to these prospects while charging incessantly for their use.
- Parent-Teacher Interaction – A regular interaction between parents and teachers is crucial to track the child’s progress. It also gives parents an understanding of the teacher’s approach and vice-versa. Most private schools claim that they conduct special sessions to encourage this culture to justify the fees. Usually, the communication is limited to the nominal meetings for collecting the report card.
- Dream School – Many parents have a dream school in mind and want their children to study in those illustrious institutes. They fail to understand if they are suitable for their child’s overall development or personality. Such ‘dream’ schools cost a fortune and may or may not match the varying needs of a student – social, physical, emotional and intellectual.
Every private school looks quite attractive at first glance. You need to weigh the pros and cons carefully before sending your child to private schools. In the end, it is about your child’s future and not only about the money.
The recent fee hike in private schools does not bode well for education, especially for those with limited means. Read about it here.